Consumer tips
Home insurance

​How safe is your heat source?

Use a safe heat source  

Malfunctioning heat sources are the second-leading cause of house fires in the United States, topped only by cooking accidents. These tips will help ensure your home and family stay safe.

If you own a woodburning unit:

  • Request and pass an inspection by a building inspector or fire marshal before using your appliance.
  • Have your chimney professionally cleaned once a year to prevent creosote buildup (a black, sticky deposit formed by unburned wood gases), which can ignite chimney fires.
  • Don’t burn trash. Use only dry firewood or the correct fuel for your stove.
  • Make sure fires are out before you go to sleep. Never close the damper with hot ashes in the fireplace. A closed damper will help the fire heat up again and will force toxic carbon monoxide into the house.
  • Remove ashes regularly in a covered metal container, not paper bags. Just one hot coal could spark a blaze.
  • Keep all combustibles at least three feet from the unit.

If you heat with a furnace:

  • Have all fuel pipes, vent connectors, gas vents, automatic safety controls, and chimneys inspected annually.
  • Change filters every three months that the furnace is in use, even if it’s simply circulating air in the summer months.
  • Inspect the walls and ceiling near the furnace. If they’re hot or discolored, additional pipe insulation or clearance may be required.

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